Saturday, October 21, 2006

A picture worth a thousand words

Patty here…

Don’t we writers wish it were that easy…

I used the same author picture on the covers of both of my novels, so with the third book coming out next July, it was time for a change. Last week, I had new photos taken. I don’t know if any of you are reluctant to “say cheese” in front of a camera. It never used to bother me, but I’ll admit I was concerned this time around.


My original photo (see above) was taken three years ago. It was in black and white and oh-so-very-small and forlorn-looking on the back flap of the cover. The bad news is that a small black and white author photo probably means that your publisher doesn’t see you as the next Dan Brown. The good news is that very few people can pick you out of a lineup. Another problem. After three years spent worrying that nobody would buy my books and I’d be disgraced, I had more wrinkles than a SharPei. And let’s not even talk about the gravity issue.

So, where to find a photographer. Because of the potent influence of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, there are oodles of them to choose from. But selecting the right one is tricky, so I always rely on word-of-mouth buzz. This time, the buzz grew to a roar at the tripod of Kevin McIntyre.

Kev shoots on location in Sunland. It’s a rural, horsy kind of place in eastern L.A. County so far removed from city life that you'd think you’re on another planet. It was the synchronicity of the locale that made me feel instantly at ease. I’d recently been to the area to do research for a scene that takes place in Short Change. Okay, bad things happen to Tucker there, but she still manages to kick ass and take names. Sunland made the selection of Kev look better and better.

L.A. is a town where even the phlebotomist at the blood bank is still getting residuals for a walk-on part he did in a 1983 episode of “Facts of Life,” so I wasn’t surprised when I learned that Kev was a singer and had once starred in musicals, including one of my favorites, “Forever Plaid.” He didn’t sing during our session, but I’ve heard that he has a fabulous set of pipes. And speaking of pipes, he also plays them, the bagpipes, that is. He’s a member of the LA Scots pipe band. I have Scottish blood trickling through my veins. I'm a Smiley. My great grandmother was a McCoy. So I love the idea of bagpipes. I’d love the idea more if the sound they produced wasn’t so bloody LOUD. Bagpipes aside, I’m a sucker for men in kilts, which turned out to be the tipping point. Kev and I were destined to be together. I emailed him and cemented the deal.

I wanted to give myself a fighting chance with the camera, so Kev referred me to a makeup artist. In her thirty-year career, Rita has applied buckets of cosmetics to the faces of a host of luminaries, including dabbing gloss on Angelina Jolie’s lips and powdering the shine off of Morgan Feeman’s nose. I needed her kind of mojo, so I called to feel her out. During that initial conversation, she confessed to being the owner of a West Highland White Terrier. I’m a Westie aficionado, too! Muldoon, the dog who plays a bit part in my books, is a Westie! The news was too good to be true. And so it was decided, Rita, Kev and I in the hills above Sunland, glossing, shooting, and smiling.

Here are the results.


Happy Monday!

24 comments:

  1. Patty, what a lovely photograph. You positively glow! Kev and Rita did a great job, but then again they had a quality canvas to work with. :-)
    I like your hair a little longer, too. Much softer.
    I love Muldoon! Not sure if it's because he has a great little presence or that Tucker has such 'mommy' issues over him.
    Great stuff!
    Cheers
    Marianne

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  2. Thanks, Marianne. Muldoon is a composite sketch of my two Westies, Dottie and PJ, but he's mostly PJ, who's the handsome lad featured on my Web site.

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  3. Patty, I love this photo of you! It's fabulous, and it brings out your sparkly personality, too!

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  4. Ah, that's so sweet, Karen. But wait till you see my dark side...

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  5. Woo hoo! What a fabulous photo. But now I can pick you out of a line up.

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  6. Don't worry, Louise. The picture may be in color it will probably still be teeny, tiny.

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  7. Patty,
    Nice photo....but frankly, the one from the blog site is quiet nice too.
    A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I truly believe that the genuine merit of your writing is worth much more than that.

    Jon

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  8. It looks gorgeous! Which is to say it looks like you in real life, Patty.

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  9. Great shot . . . I see this one on the entire back of the book, which in our biz, I guess, is a sure sign that you have "arrived." This one's a keeper!

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  10. You guys are way too kind, but--hey--it's Monday. I can take it.

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  11. Good Lord! I'm in love all over again!

    Groupie

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  12. Laugh wrinkles (lines?) are good for you!

    Groupie

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  13. Yeah, as long as they don't show up in the photograph.

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  14. Awesome photo, Patty!

    ;-)

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  15. Okay, now I know my mother is paying you guys off. Fess up.

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  16. Ok, I confess......you won't believe the limit on your mom's Platinum Visa! But she drives a very hard bargain and is extremely tenacious and persuasive......I ended up having to GIVE her another neck pillow, and promising her I'd buy your whole catalog of books----four copies each...Shhhesh!

    Jon

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  17. Jon, you missed your calling. You should be doing stand-up.

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  18. Actually the negotiations STARTED with her suggesting that a picture [of you] is worth 1,000 copies of Short Change.......now I see how your next book will defintely be a best seller.......felt fortunate to get out with just a neck pillow and the 12 copies.

    Jon

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  19. from Jacqueline

    OK, I want names and numbers asap - that is, the photographer and make-up artist! Patty, you always look great in any case, so they had a first-class canvas to work with, but I love the "mood" of that photo - you look terrific girlfriend!

    And I'm serious about the contact detais - I am getting more than a bit tired of that schoolmarmish photo of me and would love something edgy - something to bring out that inner Chrissie Hynde.

    Well done you for finding people who knew how to bring out your personality in a photo!

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  20. Jon, once my mother pins you down with her wheelie-walker you're a gonner. She might give you a free bookmark, but she'll make you pay.

    And to Our J, you-edgy-girlfriend-you, I'd be happy to give you the contact numbers, but you don't need them. You already look ravishing. Still, kilts and bagpipes...I wouldn't want you to miss out.

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  21. Wait--you said you were wearing makeup? Hmmm...at least the photographer had an easy subject!

    That's an obviously blatant attempt to flatter a beautiful woman, by the way. Is it working? Great photograph. And here I thought your last one was of a thirty-five year old woman...no fair getting younger.

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  22. Getting younger? Ah, Jeff, if only it were possible.

    Cheers!

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